Consumers’ attitudes towards lab-grown meat, conventionally raised meat and plant-based protein alternatives

Elsevier, Food Quality and Preference, Volume 99, July 2022
de Oliveira Padilha L.G., Malek L., Umberger W.J.
Concerns over the impact of global meat production and consumption patterns are leading to increasing interest in alternative sources of protein. This study provides new insight into consumers’ attitudes towards different protein products and factors associated with the acceptance of lab-grown chicken and lab-grown beef. We measured and compared 1078 Australian consumers’ beliefs regarding conventionally raised meat (chicken and beef), plant-based meat alternatives and lab-grown meat products across six attributes: health, safety, affordability, eating enjoyment, animal welfare, and environmental friendliness. Beliefs regarding the health and affordability of conventionally raised chicken were statistically highest. For all attributes, beliefs relating to plant-based meat alternatives were more positive than those relating to lab-grown meat, and with respect to animal welfare and environmental friendliness, plant-based products were viewed most positively relative to all products. Despite average negative belief scores for all attributes, except for animal welfare, around one-quarter of consumers still indicated a willingness to consume lab-grown chicken and lab-grown beef. Multinomial logistic regressions were used to explain factors associated with consumers’ willingness to consume lab-grown meat products. Factors associated with willingness to consume the lab-grown meat products were positive beliefs regarding eating experience (enjoyment), safety, animal welfare, and healthiness; familiarity; higher consumption frequency of conventionally raised chicken meat; tertiary education; and younger age. Although lower environmental impact has been proposed as one of the main benefits of lab-grown meat, beliefs regarding environmental friendliness were not significant in either model.